Sunday, July 27, 2008

Obama's Berlin Speech

It's late. I'm tired and sleepy, but here's video of Obama's Berlin speech.

Read the transcript at HuffPo, which is where I also saw the picture below, Obama before a sea of people. People continue to treat him like he's a rock star.

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lilalia said...

I don't really agree with the "rock star" analogy, for 200,000 people came to listen to what Mr. Obama had to say and no just to see him sing and dance. Europeans take politics seriously and you might be surprised at how well informed they are about American political policies and campaign processes. The 200,000 people let Mr. Obama complete his sentences before responding and their loudest response came after Mr. Obama mentioned the discontinuation of nuclear warfare and needed American participation in climate change regulation. Not many American politicians have promised those things in the last decade.

Vérité Parlant said...

Thank you, Lilalia. I always appreciate visits from you.

The rock star analogy has nothing to do with singing and dancing. Also, it has not so much to do with Europeans view him but his appeal to people everywhere.

Rock star is a reference to his charisma and how many people seem to simply adore him or who want to get one look at him in person or hear him speak live. Let's face it. He's saying something people want to hear and that they feel they've not heard from a political leader in a long time, or if they've heard it, this is the first time they've believed it!

Obama seems to be affecting people emotionally in ways that no other politician has done in quite sometime. So, I and others have used the rock star analogy to capture this side of his appeal. It does not mean that people don't take him seriously. In fact, he draws these crowds because people do take him seriously. Not all rock stars draw big crowds, but the ones who do generally have something so unique that people are drawn to them beyond their music. It's the star quality at work. It's the star quality that causes people to show up to see them arrive at the airport where they will not perform.

We can certainly think, I'm sure, of rock musicians who are good, perhaps better than another musician who has millions of fans. It seems the better musician is missing whatever ingredient needed to make throngs of people show up and love them.

Also, while some "stars" can't be taken seriously, some have been taken seriously, moving their music away from fluffy love songs toward songs with social conscience. Recall music of the 60s and 70s and the political messages. Think of how people started to see the Beatles and continued to see them even after they broke up. One of John Lennon's most well-known songs is "Imagine," a song about a better world. When you reach a certain level of stardom, people expect more meaningful expression.

Nevertheless, the analogy's not about singing and dancing. It's about inordinate love and attention, his popularity with the masses across race and ethnic lines, which has to do not only with what he says but also an intangible quality he has that draws people. The link on the word rock star, btw, was to another post about Obama being on Ebony as one of the coolest brothers of all time. That post also, on the surface has an entertainment reference, but in reality is talking about Obama qualities that make him a threat to some, a man who'll stand up to injustice.

Finally, I think Americans who like Obama take politics seriously as well. Many Americans get pretty somber and serious over politics. The number of political blogs in America and their success shows that.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to expand on the rock star analogy as it's been used before his visit to Europe and even in America has to do with what he says. I think many people are supporting Obama fervently because he's offering hope for change and they believe he is what he says he is.

BTW, I doubt Obama can sing well, and more than likely he's only a mediocre dancer despite stereotypes about all black people having these talents.